Get your geek on at the second annual Science by Night event at the Canadian Museum of Nature Thursday, May 5. At this activity-packed, free open house, you can roam the museum, meet scientists, do a little gaming, dig into some dissection, join in a trivia challenge, chill over a drink, and more! It’s all happening from 5 to 9 p.m.
“We held our first Science by Night last year and it was a great success with 1700 people taking part,” notes the museum’s president and CEO Meg Beckel. “It’s a fun way for millennials to explore natural science and discover what the Museum has to offer.”
With more than 20 activities throughout the Museum, Science By Night offers something for everybody. Dinosaur researcher Jordan Mallon is back to host Jurassic Jeopardy, a game inspired by the famous TV quiz show. Last year’s Dino Fact or Fiction, hosted by Mallon, packed the theatre.
Another big draw is the live fossil preparation station where you can chat with palaeontologists, hear about dinosaur discoveries, see what’s involved in removing fossils from rock, and learn how they’re prepared for display.
Back again this year is the popular owl pellet dissection activity. Last year’s event saw many people pouring over trays of regurgitated fur to delicately extract tiny skulls and other undigested bones of owl prey.
Want to learn how a whale got a spa treatment? There are stories to be shared about the monster undertaking of degreasing the Museum’s impressive blue whale in the Water Gallery.
Pop culture combines with botany in a new activity this year that explores plants in the digital landscapes of video games such as Skyrim and Fallout 4. Led by botanist Paul Sokoloff, visitors will have a chance to play the video games and also learn about the Museum’s botany field work in the Arctic. Sokoloff says that life on a botany expedition is just like a collecting quest in your favourite RPG (role-playing game): you strive to collect a certain amount of plant to “gain a level”, that is, to publish your next scientific paper.
Other activities, include:
extracting DNA from strawberries
live birds of prey presented by Faucon-Educ
intro to zooarchaeology: learning ancient human diet and behaviour by studying goat and sheep bones
kayak-building demonstration presented by Students on Ice
fun “fishing” with Wii, and learning about local fish
walking across the Arctic on a giant floor map
natural history trivia challenge hosted by the Ottawa Trivia League
discovering where to prospect for minerals at local abandoned mines
chatting with a botanist about upcoming Arctic field work
learning about the botanicals in gin, whisky and tea (with the opportunity to enjoy a sample – $)
handling a live walking stick and meeting some of the Museum’s other creepy crawlies
opportunity to chat with a Parks Canada scientist about caribou migration and DNA studies
Admission is free. A cash bar will be available.
Follow the hashtag #ScienceByNight on Twitter and Instagram (the Museum’s handle is museumofnature).
The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod St, Ottawa. See nature.ca.